THUNDER BAY – Health – In the fall of 2009, Marga Bond heard about a new volunteer opportunity at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). At the heart of the hospital’s newly adopted Patient and Family Centred Care (PFCC) model was the Patient and Family Advisor (PFA).
“I was intrigued with the idea that you could share your opinion and that it would be taken into consideration to improve the experience of patients and families,” says Bond.
One of the criteria of a PFA is a recent (within the previous two years) care experience at TBRHSC and Bond had seen a few areas for improvement when several of her own family members were being cared for at the hospital.
Following the application and orientation process, Bond began her PFA work as a member of the Patient Safety Subcommittee.
Since then, she has participated in the PFA Advisory Council and committees and working groups around the development of a surgical safety checklist, accreditation in Telemedicine and Tele-visitation, nursing uniforms, reviewing Family CARE (Care Advancements Recommended by Employees) Grant applications, as well as volunteering at the annual TBRHSC Patient and Family Centred Caring and Sharing Expo and guiding tours for such groups as last year’s Rendez-Vous conference participants.
More recently, Bond has been active in a committee that is looking at improving continuity of care during discharge and transitions.
Whether she’s advocating for herself, a family member or patients and families in general, Bond sees problems as opportunities for improvement. “We go in with the idea that we’re trying to improve areas,” she says.
Bond’s knack for bringing issues forward in a positive way has made her a sought-after PFA. “Marga exemplifies the qualities of our PFAs at TBRHSC and embodies the core values of Patient and Family Centre Care: dignity and respect, information sharing, participation and collaboration,” says Bonnie Nicholas, Patient and Family Centred Care Lead and Patient Advocate. “I am very thankful that she came to volunteer as a PFA. She is an asset to the whole organization.”
Bond says she is encouraged by the number of changes she has seen that were the direct result of committees in which she and other PFAs participated since becoming a PFA three years ago. “The fact that professional staff on those committees listened and incorporated our recommendations makes you feel validated and that you’re being listened to. It is so rewarding, as a PFA, to see how committed this hospital’s administration and staff are to the PFCC concept.”
Bond says that more individuals should feel they can share their experiences with the hospital in order to improve care for other patients and families. “The hospital genuinely wants feedback so that they can focus quality improvement on what matters most to patients and families,” she says.
No stranger to volunteering, Bond has held office in a variety of boards and auxiliaries in the community. When her son told her, ‘Mom, you know, you can’t save the world,’ Bond replied, “I know, but I want to try.”
If interested in becoming a Patient and Family Advisor, please contact the Patient and Family Centred Care Lead at (807) 684-PFCC (684-7322) or e-mail PFCC@tbh.net.